15 Things To Stop Tolerating From The Negative People in Your Life

Negative people have a knack for making you feel terrible too. One minute you’re feeling upbeat about life and ready to chase your dreams, and after five minutes in a Debbie Downer’s company, you’re feeling down and out. It’s horrible, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Starting from now, here are 15 things you need to stop tolerating from negative people in your life.

1. Dream-squashing comments

No one has the right to put down your dreams or make you feel like they’re not worth chasing. Whether it’s a career change, a grand adventure, or simply finding greater purpose in your everyday life, your ambitions are valid. Belittling comments and dismissive attitudes are toxic – they eat away at your confidence and dim that inner spark. Don’t let anyone steal your ambition or convince you to play small.

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2. The need for tons of sympathy

Some chronically negative people operate on a constant loop of seeking validation and sympathy. While offering support is kind, there’s a tipping point where it becomes emotionally draining for you. Playing the perpetual cheerleader for someone who refuses to acknowledge any positivity becomes a futile and exhausting cycle. This isn’t about being cruel; it’s about recognizing when your emotional well-being is being sacrificed in the endless pursuit of trying to make them feel better.

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3. Asking for advice that they never take

Negative Nellies can be notorious advice blackholes. You pour your heart and soul into offering thoughtful solutions, but they deflect them like a superhero deflecting bullets. Frustrating, right? Instead of wasting your precious wisdom on closed ears, try a new approach! Next time the complaints start flowing, just ask something like, “Do you want advice, or do you just need to vent and have me listen?” This lets them choose and sets boundaries for your involvement.

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4. Jealous tendencies

Chronic negativity can breed a toxic jealousy. People who are naturally pessimistic will struggle to celebrate your successes without a pang of envy. To protect your own positive energy, setting boundaries is a must, NPR notes. While it’s okay to be mindful of their sensitivities, oversharing your happiness might just bring out their green-eyed monster. Finding joy shouldn’t require tiptoeing around someone else’s insecurities.

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5. Brutal honesty

“Brutal honesty” is a label that’s sometimes a cover for people to go ahead and say whatever they want (which is usually pretty rude/inappropriate) and totally trash your confidence. If the negative person in your life puts you down or criticizes your life choices and then claims they’re just being brutally honest, that’s not fair! Tell them that it makes you feel hurt and you don’t appreciate it.

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6. Complaining about everything

Negative people love to whine about even the most minor inconvenience, and it’s tiring. Everything’s wrong and nothing goes according to plan for them, and you’re definitely going to hear about it from here until kingdom come. The best way to deal is to tune them out so their negative energy doesn’t make you stop seeing positive things around you.

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7. Malicious gossip

They’ll snag you with a juicy “You’ll never guess what I heard!” and suddenly you’re up to your elbows in gossip. Not only does this tarnish reputations, but it drags you right down into their muck, Lifehacker reminds us. Remember, indulging in gossip doesn’t make you a good friend, it makes you complicit in the negativity. Put a hard stop to those conversations and protect both your reputation and your positivity.

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8. Helpless attitudes that rub off on you

The “woe is me” behavior that you usually see in your negative friend can easily start rubbing off on you, especially if you’re experiencing a low mood. Make it a rule that you don’t turn to this specific friend when you need advice or a pep talk. You’re not powerless in your own life — you can always change your circumstances or overcome any hurdle.

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9. Emotional fatigue

Emotional fatigue isn’t something a negative person does per se, but it’s what they make you feel, like when they talk your ear off with negative comments and complaints for hours at a time. When you can feel your life force slipping away, end the call or hangout and go do something that makes you feel good and happy.

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10. Chronic drama

Negativity breeds drama, unfortunately. The negative friend in your life might call you with talk about how bad their day was or what someone said to hurt them, and it feels so exaggerated. Or, they have extreme emotional reactions to things that feel like a lot to take on. You don’t need that in your life!

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11. Lack of emotional support

You can’t rely on a perpetual pessimist to offer the kind of genuine support you deserve. When you’re facing tough times, lean on the people in your life who uplift you, not those who drain you. Your emotional well-being depends on seeking out people who genuinely care about you and are happy to put you first sometimes, just as you’d do for them.

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12. Lack of accountability

In their minds, life’s hardships are always someone else’s fault. This mindset makes it nearly impossible for them to own their actions and take responsibility. They deflect blame at every turn, making honest self-reflection and growth incredibly difficult. This means if they do something to screw you over, they’ll never own up to it. Don’t even waste your time!

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13. Undermining your success

Don’t expect someone who’s chronically negative to wholeheartedly celebrate your wins. Their deeply ingrained pessimism might even lead them to subtly undermine your achievements. This isn’t about you; it’s about their inability to see the good. Don’t let their negativity dim your excitement. Remember, your success is something to be celebrated, regardless of anyone else’s inability to recognize it.

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14. Fear-mongering

Negative people always seem to have the latest scary news they found on the internet to share with you. It’s like there’s always some tragedy or catastrophe they want to take about, and since they’re addicted to their phone, there’s never any shortage of this. Talking to them will inevitably bring your mood down, as they want you to dread and feel anxious about the end of the world just like they do.

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15. Competitive negativity

Healthy competition can be a motivator, but some people twist it into a toxic one-upmanship game. If every challenge you mention sparks a “Well, at least you didn’t…” response, that’s not friendship, that’s emotional sabotage. They hijack your struggles, constantly shifting the spotlight to their own dramas in a bid to make theirs seem more profound. This constant undermining and invalidation is a red flag. True friends offer support, not competition in misery. Don’t put up with this.

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Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.